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of a Motion on the subject this Ses- / rent, the Prime Minister showed clearly sion. The noble Lord said that last it was the intention of the Bill to give year he supported a measure for the fair rent-in fact, the principal objection development of fisheries in Ireland; to the Bill was that it made the rent but he did not tell them what the unduly fair to the tenant, and almost Party opposite did, when they were in ruinous to the landlord ; but, considering Office, for Ireland. He was not sur- that in the House of Commons landlords prised at the action of the noble Lord were powerful, and in the other House of the Member for Haddingtonshire (Lord Parliament predominant, it was natural Elcho) and the Amendment which he to expect that the Bill would not be had proposed. The noble Lord remained passed in a shape that was unfair to true to-day to the opinions ho expressed landlords. With regard to fixity of years ago on the Land Question, because tenure, there was no question that the he had denounced every possible con- Bill gave fixity of tenure for the first 15 cession to Ireland. He asked the noble years; but what was to be the position Lord to point out on what occasions of the tenant at the end of that period ? concessions were ever made to Ireland, In the event of the landlord not wishing either at the time or in the manner in to go on with another term, would ho which the people of Ireland had de- be able to resume possession, and simply manded them. The concessions that give the tenant compensation under the had been made were either granted too disturbance clauses ? If so, then the late, or they had been spoiled in the value of that part of the measure difgranting by the introduction of principles fered from that which he originally set which rendered them utterly unsuitable upon it. However, fair rents, with a for the country for which they were in- certain fixity of 15 years, and with, he tended. He admitted that never in the trusted, a power of renewing it afterhistory of Ireland had there been a greater wards, would form a substantial boon to concession than the Land Act of 1870; the tenant, and he was not prepared to but it possessed two defects—it did not reject that boon when offered as it was establish a tribunal to prevent an arbi- by the Government. As to the fifth part trary increase of rent, and it contained of the Bill, relating to the creation of a nothing in the shape of fixity of tenure. peasant proprietary or an occupying Attempts were made by Irish Members ownership, he had always held that that at different times to get those defects was the real solution of the Irish diffiremedied; but during the whole time culty. The real cause of the present the Party of the noble Lord were in agitation in Ireland was the fact that Office they carried out the policy recom- the great bulk of the people saw that mended by the noble Lord the Member the landowners were a very small fracfor Haddingtonshire with regard to Ire- tion of the community, and differing in land-namely, no concession; they told class, in feelings, and opinions from the the Irish Members that the Act of 1870 vast majority of the nation. That had was a final settlement of the Irish Land led to the bad feeling which existed in Question. The result of the policy of many places between landlord and tenno concession to Ireland was the estab-ant, and what the country required lishment of the Land League. The was a large increase in the number of House was told that the present Go- occupying owners. Therefore, he corvernment, in a few months after they dially approved of the principle of that acceded to power, turned everything up- part of the Bill, although he was afraid side down. The fact was that the Land that in practice that portion of the meaLeague was in existence, and as well sure would have little effect for a very organized in the West of Ireland as it long time. A very considerable interval was now, during the last year the Party would elapse before many persons could opposite were in Office. He looked upon take advantage of those particular prothis Bill as an attempt to remedy the visions. In conclusion, he might add defects of the Act of 1870 with reference that, having been returned at the last to fair rent and fixity of tenure. In so Election pledged to the principles of far as it did that, it was a good Bill, and fixity of tenure, fair rents, and free would be successful; in so far as it failed sale, he could not throw any obstacle in to do that, in so far it would be a failure. the way of the passing of that Bill, With reference to the question of fair which, whatever might be said of it,

(Eighth Night.]

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went a long way to secure those three and improvements provided in the scala things to the tenant.

under that Act. Now, the only differ. MR. PARNELL: Sir, I am sorry ence to my mind between the first main that I cannot join with the hon. Gentle- portion of this Bill and the Act of 1870 man the junior Member for the County is that this Bill seeks to carry out the of Sligo (Mr. D. O'Conor), in taking any principle of the Act of 1870 in a differpart in the division upon the present ent way from that provided by that Act

. stage of the Bill, and I will endeavour The Act of 1870, as I have said, did to explain to the House my reasons for really intend to confer a property upon my abstention. It has been truly said the Irish tenant. It really proposed to that the debate upon this measure up to do so; but it failed to protect that prothe present has been very much a de- perty. It proposed to protect it by bate upon its details and not upon its fining the landlord for evicting his tenprinciple. In fact, it appears to me ants to the amount of value of property that the Gentlemen who have been that was so conferred; but it was found instrumental in moving the present during the practice and the experience Amendment do not so much find fault of the 10 years we have had with that with the principle of the Bill as they Act that this system of fining the landshow a desire to fritter away the details lords failed to protect the tenant in that in Committee, so as to render it still property. Now, I venture to assert, more worthless to the Irish tenant than though I hope otherwise, that the sysin its present form. I shall step out of tem of establishing a Court to fix fair the line which the debate has taken, rent will also fail in protecting even the and say why I cannot approve of the small property acknowledged to belong Bill, and try to show my reasons why I to the tenant by the Act of 1870. We think that principle is a defective one. have had a great many calculations as It is supposed by many people in Ire- to the amount of property handed over land that this Bill introduces some new to the Irish tenant. We were told by principle. Now, I venture to think that high authorities that £80,000,000 or this Bill introduces no new principle, £90,000,000 were to be handed over by that it proposes to restore nothing to the that Act; but we have a very easy Irish tenant besides that which the Act of means of estimating the amount of 1870 proposed to restore, for I look upon money property of value actually trans: the Bill, not as a measure that gives | ferred by à Return which was quoted anything, but as a measure of restitu- | by the hon. Member for Galway (Mr. tion. Now, Sir, the principle of the T. P. O'Connor) the other evening. Bill, I think, is identical with the Act From that Return it appears that the of 1870, inasmuch as it proposes to compensations which have been given establish a partnership in the land be- by the County Courts in operation under tween landlord and tenant. It is true that Act during the four or five years

' that for a very long time even the time over which the Return extended to authors of the Land Act of 1870 refused the tenants in claims, both for compen. to admit that any property was conferred sation for disturbance and improvements

, upon the tenant by that Act, or that any | only amounted to £27 each. We thus partnership was proposed to be estab- find that instead of £80,000,000 or lished. So late as last Session, during £90,000,000 handed over to tenants by the debates on the Compensation for this Act, a sum which is only an exceedDisturbance Bill, the right hon. Gentle- ingly small fraction of that amount was man the Chief Secretary for Ireland was actually transferred, and this only after with the greatest possible difficulty in- expensive litigation before the County duced to admit that the Land Act of Courts, and sometimes before the Su1870 did confer "some kind of interest” preme Courts. Now, in estimating the these were his words—he would not benefits which this Act was to confer eay property upon the Irish tenant. But upon the Irish tenants, we must bear in We now have the Government coming mind that the property which this Bill forward and admitting that the Act of proposes to acknowledge to the tenant 1870 did confer a property upon the is only that which the Act of 1870 proIrish tenant in the shape of tenant right posed to acknowledge-nothing more. in the North of Ireland, and in the The only difference is that it proposes to shape of compensation for disturbance protect it in a different way, and this is

Mr. D. OʻConor

the great boon which is being held up ing than any other Member. I now ask to the Irish people as the reward for all the hon. Member for the County of Cork their miseries during the last two years, (Mr. Shaw), who is doing so much to and for all the sacrifices they have made. lubricate the larynx of the Irish people It simply means that an additional value in order to induce them to swallow this to the amount of £27 is to be handed Bill, amended or unamended, as best over to these unfortunate tenants, and they can, I ask him whether he conthis is only to be had at the cost of a siders anything but a very large and lawsuit. The tenant is not afforded the general reduction of rent in Ireland will simple means of even knowing what his be or ought to be satisfactory to the right is, except by tedious and expensive Irish tenants ? The House will be good litigation. Every step in this litigation enough to recollect what the situation is. may be contested by the rich, powerful, There have been three years of unand educated landlord opposed to him exampled agricultural depression-an for the time. We have then, on the one almost total failure of crops, when side, the poor Irish tenant, without | foreign competition has come into play education, without means, and, until in a most unusual and unheard - of very recently, without the power of fashion. We have compelled the Irish landorganization and combination, pitted lords to reduce their rents during the last against a class of men who have con- two years; the English landlords have stantly shown themselves to be the most reduced their rents of their own accord, able defenders of their rights that because they were wise in their generahave existed in almost any country. tion; but the Irish landlords allowed the But we have also the authority of the question of the reduction of rent to be authors of the Bill as to the extent of made a casus belli between themselves this benefit to the Irish tenants. We and their tenants, and have produced an have, in addition, the declaration of the agitation of which, I believe, none of principal Ministers of the Crown. We us have yet seen the end. Well, the have first of all the declaration of the right hon. Gentleman comes forward Prime Minister, in introducing the Bill, with his voice and says that as regards that the landlords, as a rule, have stood the bulk of the Irish landlords their their trial well, and he said he did not rents will not be in any way reduced. propose to interfere with them as a body, I ask the hon, Member for the County of and that this Bill would not interfere Cork how he can conscientiously recomwith the rents of the landlords as a body. mend a measure of this kind to the [Mr. GLADSTONE: Except in the case of Irish people as a satisfactory settlement the payment of excessive rent.] Just of this great question while he hears 50; in other words, that he did not be these statements from three right hon. lieve that the rents of the majority of Gentlemen of such authority? We have Irish landlords would be in any way re- been accused of being desirous of keepduced. We have also the statement ing up the agitation. For my part, I of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief think the accusation would fit very much Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant to the better upon Her Majesty's Government. same effect. He stated that he believed I know of no better way for keeping that a very small minority of Irish alive the agitation than by supplying landlords would be affected in any way half remedies for admitted grievances. by the measure. We have also the We desire this question to be settled statement of the right hon. Gentle- now once for all, and it is because we man the Chancellor of the Duchy of have every reason to believe that this Lancaster the other night, when he measure will fail in affording the satissaid that the Bill would not reduce factory and final settlement that we rethe rents of more than one - tenth fuse to allow ourselves to be comout of the whole body of Irish land promised, and allow the claims of the lords; and certainly if I am entitled to Irish tenants to be compromised, by the assume-and anybody can predict what tlat and full acceptance of the Bill which would be the result of the work of this the Prime Minister so much desires. complicated measure-I am entitled to Let it not be supposed that because we assume that the three right hon. Gentle- live in Ireland wo desire to keep our men who are responsible for this mea- country in a state of agitation. Can it sure know more about its probable work- be supposed that we, who have some

[Eighth Night.]

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cause for desiring the interests of our and the Irish landlords only pretended country to prosper and that it should re- to have spent £3,500,000. They have turn to quietness, should gain more by had the land of their country absolutely the continuance of Irish grievances under their control. No foreign despot grievances to be redressed by Liberal ever wielded more power over the good Ministries-grievances out of which they of the people and over the resources of may gain Party victories on election the country than the Irish landlords, and hustings, without which it is much to be they have left us in an appalling and feared that Liberal Ministries would miserable state. Ireland is the worst sometimes find their occupation entirely cultivated and worst formed and the gone. I know of no period within a most miserable country on the face of great many years when the Irish Ques- the earth. Evidence of this is to be tion has not been adopted by the Liberal seen on every hand; yet because we Ministry when this question has not been have asked that the land, which has been carefully fostered and cherished, and a the absolute property of this privileged sufficient instalment of justice given for class for so many centuries, and which the purpose of keeping it alive; and I, they so shamefully neglected, should be as an Irishman, protest against the pre- transferred to the only people that hare sent Government losing this oppor- ever done anything to improve it, we tunity, an opportunity which they may are to be charged with being revolunever have again, of closing this ques- tionists, and with a desire to confiscate. tion, and certainly it will not be my We do not desire to confiscate anything. fault, so far as anything I can say or do, The Land League doctrine is that any if they lose it. Now, Sir, the attempt attempt to reconcile the respective into establish a partnership between the terests of the landlord and tenant is imlandlord and tenant, between idleness possible. It is time, after the Prime and industry, is to be renewed by the Minister has made an ineffectual at. Government, after they have failed in tempt to deal with the question, and their attempt of 1870 to establish it; and when he is entering upon another atthe miserable restitution of £27, upon tempt which we fear will also prove inthe average, is to be offered to each effectual, it is time that the doctrine we Irish tenant as his share in the soil of preach should be thoroughly examined

, his native land. This miserable dole is and that it should be entertained with a to be again foisted off upon him by a little more tenderness and regard for the Liberal Government as his reward, and as just claims of the Irish people. How his share in the exertions which he has has the Land League proposed that the made, and which his predecessors have existing system in Ireland should be put made for many generations in improve- an end to We have never asked for the ment and reclaiming the soil of Ireland. expropriation of the landlords. ["Oh, Recollect that the tenants have done oh?"] And the hon. Member for the everything, and that the landlord has County of Galway, who is the chief prohardly done anything. We were told pagator of that delusion, is taking upon the other day of the magnificent sum of himself a grave responsibility when he £3,500,000 sterling which the Irish holds out such an agreeable prospect to landlords had spent upon improvements the Irish landlords. The members of since 1841. But it was out of the the Land League do not think the protenant's pocket. It ought to be remem- perty of the landlords has yet touched bered that all that money has been bottom, and are of opinion that they borrowed from the Board of Works, and should not be caught out until more is that both principal and interest have known of the change which American imbeen repaid by the tenants in the shape portations are likely to produce. But the of added rent. But that £3,500,000 League has undoubtedly recommended very accurately represents the so-called compulsory expropriation, though not for exertions of the landlords, and it came all landlords. We have recommended out of the pockets of the tenants. It that power should be given to a Commishas been exceedingly easy for landlords sion to expropriate compulsorily those to borrow money; they can do so much landlords who may be acting as centres more easily than landlords in England. of disturbance, to use the expression of Now, the annual income from land in the First Lord of the Treasury. That is Ireland was £17,000,000 or £18,000,000, all that the League has recommended

Mr. Parnell

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up to the present time in the shape of, who have purchased the large amount compulsory expropriation. We have of property to which I have just alluded asked that the price to be paid to those will probably be found a very large prolandlords who have broken the trust re- portion of the worst and most rack-rentposed in them by the State should be ing. I do not mean to say that rackfixed at 20 years' purchase at the Poor renting is entirely confined to the new Law valuation, and we believe that the landlords, for I know many absentee mere threat of expropriating them at landlords, and many old landlords, whose such a price would do more to reduce estates are just as highly rented as those rack-rents than all the legal parapher of the new landlords. But there is a nalia of the right hon. Gentleman and very large proportion of rack-renting his draftsmen. We have also asked landlords among the latter, and they Parliament to restore to the tenant are the curse of their country. Having his old Common Law right, which was said thus much upon the fundamental taken away, as the right hon. Gentleman principles of the measure, and

upon some has told us, by the Act of 1816, be points which, I venture to think, may fore which date ejectment was a difficult assist the solution of the question before matter. The League last year had re- us, I will pass on to a very brief concommended that ejectment should be sus- sideration of some of the more strikpended for two years; and it appears to ing details of the measure, and show me that the essential way in which to how inipossible it is for the Irish effect their suspension would be by re-tenant to hope that this Bill will really pealing the enactments passed by land give him even the small amount of prolord Parliaments in favour of landlords in perty which the First Lord of the Treathe years 1816, 1850, and 1861. Another sury proposes to restore to him. How, restitution which Ireland may fairly I ask, is this little property of £27 to be claim from England has been already secured to the tenant ? The tenant canalluded to by the First Lord of the not be considered as the owner of that Treasury, who has told the House that property until he shall have successfully the £52,000,000 worth of property sold wrested it from the landlord. Every in the Encumbered Estates Court has point in his case is liable to be contested been sold without any regard to the in- in a Court of Law; every right which terest of the tenants. But did it not | he claims may be subjected to modifioccur to the right hon. Gentleman that cation, and the onus of proof is thrown if this great wrong had been done it upon him from the first. He will have would be fair to undo it, and that there to pay for skilled witnesses to give evi. would be no hardship upon a landlord dence as to the improvements on his who had purchased in the Encumbered holding; he will have to engage counsel Estates Court if he were asked to give and solicitors, and, if finally successful, up his purchase upon receiving what he he will get £27. It should be borne had paid for it? If the land were to in mind that the majority of tenants revert to the State at the price paid for are very poor men and very small it in the Encumbered Estates Court, the holders. Out of 600,000 tenants in tenants would have their property in the Ireland, 320,000 were valued under the soil protected, and they could remain as yearly value of £8, and of these 175,000 State tenants under the Government, or are valued under £4. These figures could become landowners by the pro- show how useless it will be for many coss indicated the other night by the tenants to hope that they will gain anyChancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. thing from the measure under consiIs £52,000,000 too large a sum of money deration. The costs of the suits will, in for this country to spend upon this Irish nine cases out of 10, eat up all the proquestion? The money, I feel sure, can be fits which the tenant can expect to gain. got by a loan at 4 per cent in the open | The old proverb of “ The shell for theo; market. Several Irish MEMBERS: Three the oyster is the lawyer's fee,” will have per cent.) If Parliament can but sum- to be modified if the Bill were to bemon up courage to undo the mischief come law, for a tenant will have the that has been done, a great deal of good shells while his landlord and the lawyer may be effected without any necessity will divide the oyster between them. I for such complicated legal machinery as am, however, happy to say that the is now proposed. Among the landlords right hou. Gentleman has given up the

Eighth Night.]

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